[political-research] Top Obama Adviser Signs on to Roadmap to War with Iran

2008-10-26 Thread Sean McBride

 Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: Top Obama Adviser Signs
on to Roadmap to War with Iran via Signs of the Times on 10/26/08 If
you haven't seen it already, check out the op-ed by former Sens. Daniel
Coats and Charles Robb in the Washington Post today, entitled Stopping
a Nuclear Tehran. It is the summary of a report issued last month by
an organization called The Bipartisan Policy Center (at whose website
you can find the full report), and it amounts to a roadmap to war with
Iran to which a senior Middle East adviser in the Obama campaign -
namely, Dennis Ross - has apparently signed on.

[UPDATE: Make sure you also read in this connection today's New York
Times article by David Sanger, particularly the part about the
purported e-mail from Obama that was routed through an
unidentified aide, who I presume to be Ross. The coincidence of the
appearance of this article with the Coats-Robb op-ed suggests an effort
to box Obama into a pre-election position. The Iran part of the story
by Sanger, who considers himself a foreign-policy player, as well as a
reporter, tracks the report's narrative quite nicely.]
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[political-research] Top Obama Adviser Signs on to Roadmap to War with Iran

2008-10-23 Thread Sean McBride

 Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: Top Obama Adviser Signs
on to Roadmap to War with Iran via LobeLog.com by admin on 10/23/08
If you haven’t see it already, check out the op-ed by former Sens.
Daniel Coats and Charles Robb in the Washington Post today, entitled
“Stopping a Nuclear Tehran.” It is the summary of a report issued last
month by an organization called The Bipartisan Policy Center (at whose
website you can find the full report), and it amounts to a roadmap to
war with Iran to which a senior Middle East adviser in the Obama
campaign — namely, Dennis Ross — has apparently signed on.

While Coats and Robb were the co-chairs of the task force that produced
the report, “Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear
Development,” the main authors appear to have been the Center’s project
director, Michael Makovsky, and Michael Rubin of the American
Enterprise Institute (AEI), who listed the report as his work on the
AEI website earlier this month. Makovsky, of course, is the younger
brother of David Makovsky, the former head and currently senior fellow
at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which has
acted more or less as a “think tank” for the so-called “Israel Lobby”
over the 20-some years since it was created as a spin-off of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Michael, who
reportedly emigrated to Israel in 1989, served under Doug Feith at the
Pentagon where he was part of the team that helped manipulate the
intelligence to facilitate the path to war in Iraq. Rubin, of course,
also worked in Rumsfeld’s office at the same time.

Now, you would expect a report like this, which is clearly aimed at the
transition team of an incoming president, from hard-line neo-cons with
a distinctly Likudist bent like Makovsky and Rubin, or, for that
matter, task force member Steve Rademaker, the spouse of AEI’s Danielle
Pletka, who also worked under John Bolton in the State Department. But
what really drew my attention to the report when I first heard about it
two or three weeks ago, was the fact that Dennis Ross, who is a senior
foreign-policy to Barack Obama, also signed on to the report as a
task-force member. Ross, who previously served as the chief
Israel-Palestinian negotiator for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill
Clinton, has been associated with WINEP in various positions since he
left public service, although, unlike Makovsky or Rubin, his sympathies
have leaned more to Labour than to Likud, at least in the Israeli
context.

According to a variety of sources, Ross was the main drafter of Obama’s
pander (except on the settlers) to AIPAC’s annual convention here in
May and has since raised his hopes for a top post in an Obama
administration, possibly even secretary of state. Frankly, I doubt that
the latter prospect is realistic, but — and here’s the main point — I
have it from several sources close to the campaign that he is more
eager to gain control over the Iran portfolio (possibly special envoy)
than to work on the problem that he knows best from his long
experience, the Israel-Palestinian conflict. If he succeeds in his
quest and if this report is any reflection of his views, then the U.S.
could very well find itself at war with Iran within a remarkably short
period of time.

I leave it to you to read the column or, better, the executive summary
of the report. But I would highlight just a few of its major points on
which Ross should be closely questioned if Obama should win the
election and considers Ross for any post that would have anything to do
with Iran policy:

– A strategy of deterrence, if Iran became a “nuclear-capable” state,
would not necessarily work because of the “Islamic Republic’s extremist
ideology.”

— No agreement can be reached that would permit Iran to enrich uranium
on its own territory under any circumstances, including even under the
strictest international inspections regime.

— A “grand bargain” with Iran cannot be worked out in the time that
remains before Iran builds a stockpile of 20 kgs of highly enriched
uranium 6 kgs of plutonium which would make it technically “nuclear
weapons-capable” and which thus must be unacceptable to the U.S.

— The U.S. should be willing to suspend all bilateral nuclear
co-operation with Russia in order to pressure it to cooperate on Iran;
that is, lending Washington full diplomatic support and refusing to
provide additional assistance to Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs
or to sell it advanced conventional-weapons systems.

— The U.S. should maintain a constant dialogue with Israel because
“…(o)nly if Israeli policymakers believe that U.S. and European
policymakers will ensure that the Islamic Republic does not gain
nuclear weapons will the Israelis be unlikely to strike Iran
independently.” In other words, unless the U.S. is prepared to take out
Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel will likely do so without seeking a
green light from Washington.

— If the next administration